Orlando, Fla. - Illinois-Chicago used a four-run rally in the top of the seventh to hand the Stetson softball team (10-3) a tough 5-2 defeat Friday afternoon at the UCF & Holiday Inn Select Spring Fling at the UCF Softball Complex. Four of the five Flames (9-7) runs were unearned.
UIC took an early 1-0 lead as its leadoff batter reached on an error and came around to score on an RBI sacrifice fly. Sophomore center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) appeared to make the defensive play of the game as she and freshman third baseman Demi Meza (Oxnard, Calif.) connected to cut a runner down at third base from the outfield on the play to end the inning and keep it a 1-0 ballgame.
Stetson would use that lease on life to score two runs in the bottom of the second. Leadoff singles from Meza and Trotto set the stage for an RBI groundout by senior left fielder Brittany Knipp (Land O'Lakes, Fla.), which was immediately followed by a perfect RBI bunt single off the bat of senior first baseman Carolyn Boyd (Germantown, Tenn.).
The Hatters would not be able to score again off Flames ace Devin Miller and disaster struck in the top of the seventh when a leadoff walk and two Stetson errors resulted in both the tying and go-ahead runs scoring. Center fielder Melissa Preish gave UIC breathing room with a two-run double off the left field wall and Miller finished off Stetson in the bottom of the seventh.
Sophomore starting pitcher Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) did not allow an earned run in four innings and received a no-decision. Freshman Courtney Brandt (Dade City, Fla.) took the unlucky loss with three of her four runs allowed marked as unearned. Senior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) singled, doubled and stole a base for the Hatters.
Miller struck out six to earn the win for the Flames with Preish and left fielder Kara Komp delivering two base hits each.
Stetson returns to Orlando tomorrow to take on Penn at 2:00 pm and tournament host UCF at 6:00 pm. Live Stats and Hatter Vision audio are available at GoHatters.com.
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